Last week’s tip got lost due to the Easter holiday, so this is the first of two ballroom tips to be posted this week. This post will also start a short series on ballroom shoes for men and women: what types are available, what they are for, and a few tricks on how to care for them.
Starting with the men, this is the basic calfskin dance shoe.
In my experience, this is the first type of shoe a male dancer purchases, and the last type they wear as they retire. The short heel is the correct height for standard, and the calfskin is flexible enough for latin, making these multipurpose shoes for those starting in dance. They also require no special care. The calfskin will mold to the foot over time, making a well-worn pair extremely comfortable. The pair shown above are my husband's practice shoes, and all of my male dance teachers wear either calfskin or canvas shoes of this style for teaching.
A pair of these shoes should cover the needs of all social dancing situations and lower competitive levels. However, plain calfskin won't cut it on the competition floor above a certain level. Once a competitor becomes more serious (in the places I’ve danced, it was typically at gold level, or silver for those planning on continuing to gold), the standard dancers move onto patents, and the latin men get heels.